New US travel rules will favor vaccinated international travelers; here’s what to know

(CNN) – Another welcome news for travelers clamoring to enter the United States came on Tuesday with the announcement that land borders with Canada and Mexico will reopen to fully vaccinated visitors in November.

Both measures are expected to take effect in November, although no specific dates have been announced.

The plans loosen and strengthen existing rules, depending on the country an international traveler arrives from and their vaccination status.

Here’s what we know so far about what the new policies will mean:

Visitors from Mexico and Canada will soon be able to enter by land and ferry

Land and ferry ports of entry will soon be open to tourism, visits from friends and family, and other non-essential travel, provided visitors are fully vaccinated. There will be no testing requirement, senior administration officials said.

This is the first phase of the new policy, which is expected to take effect in November.

Those traveling for essential reasons, such as students and truck drivers, will still be able to cross borders, regardless of their vaccination status, until early January 2022. At that point, a vaccination obligation will come into effect for all passengers in I arrive. foreign travelers arriving by land and ferry.

Air travel from Mexico and Canada to the United States is currently permitted, with evidence of a negative Covid-19 test. Things will get tougher for foreign arrivals in November when a vaccination requirement will be implemented for all international air travelers.

The rules for unvaccinated children are still unclear

The announcement by the Department of Homeland Security on the land borders of Mexico and Canada did not target children, many of whom are not eligible for vaccinations.

Air travel rules for unvaccinated children are also unclear, although unvaccinated Americans will still be allowed to travel to the United States by air, with more rigorous testing.

On September 20, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki indicated that those rules “at this point, would obviously apply to children as well.”

It is unclear whether the same rules would apply to unvaccinated children from other countries. CNN asked the Department of Homeland Security for clarification.

The doors are finally opening for people in countries affected by travel bans

Travel bans implemented at the start of the pandemic by presidential proclamations prevented foreign citizens from arriving from China, Iran, the European Schengen area, the United Kingdom, the Republic of Ireland, Brazil, South Africa and from India.

For the first time in more than a year in many cases, vaccinated foreign nationals who have been in those countries in the 14 days prior to entering the United States will soon be admitted with proof of vaccination and a negative Covid-19 test done by three days of their flight.

Unvaccinated travelers from other countries will no longer be admitted

The new rules scheduled for November will require adult foreign citizens to provide proof of vaccination and a negative Covid-19 test result within three days of the flight.

So the US door appears to be closing for unvaccinated travelers from other countries.

As previously mentioned, unvaccinated travelers crossing the United States from Canada and Mexico by land or ferry for essential reasons will be allowed until January, when the vaccination requirement for all incoming foreign nationals will apply.

Unvaccinated US citizens and permanent residents will still be able to enter

Unvaccinated Americans are the exception, at least for air travel.

They will be “subject to stricter testing requirements,” including a test within one day of their flight to the United States and an additional test upon their return, said Jeff Zients, White House Covid-19 Response Coordinator. when it announced the new rules on international air travel on September 20.

The October 12 announcement on the land borders of Mexico and Canada did not specifically target unvaccinated Americans, but the vaccination requirement is directed at “arriving foreign domestic travelers.”

The CDC defines what “fully vaccinated” means

In this file photo from September 14, 2021, a syringe is being prepared with the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine in a clinic at Reading Area Community College in Reading, Pennsylvania.

The CDC has provided guidance on what it means to be “fully vaccinated”.

Matt Rourke / AP

People are considered “fully vaccinated” by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention two weeks after their second dose in a two-dose series or two weeks after a single-dose vaccine.

Some vaccines not yet approved for use in the United States will be accepted for travel.

“Last week, to help them prepare their systems, we informed airlines that vaccines that are FDA cleared / approved or listed for emergency use by WHO will meet the criteria for travel to the United States,” he said. the CDC in a note. “CDC will release further guidance and information as travel requirements are finalized later this month.”

The agency did not answer specific questions about land borders or combination vaccinations (receiving a dose of two different vaccines), which Canada and a number of other countries have offered.

All international air travelers will be required to provide contact tracking information

The CDC is set up to issue a contact tracking order that “requires airlines to collect complete contact information for every passenger arriving in the United States and to promptly provide that information to the CDC, upon request, to follow up on travelers who they have been exposed to Covid-19 variants or other pathogens, “Psaki said on Sept. 20.

The agency has not yet provided further details on that order.

Americans can go to Canada and Mexico now

Canada recently opened its land border, as well as access by air, to vaccinated international travelers.

Mexico allowed foreign arrivals by air during the pandemic without testing or vaccination trials.

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